Father’s Day today and yesterday, who knows about tomorrow
By Ray Hanania
June 20, 2021 — Happy Father’s Day to all from this “Fadder” … and especially to my father George Hanania who immigrated to America in 1926, legally I might point out. And despite coming her legally, he never got the respect he deserved.
My father died when I was 16 so I never really got to know him in terms of his political views or opinions about the rest of the world.
But I knew he served during World War II with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in the 5th Army, which later became the CIA. Dad enlisted right after the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He enlisted with his older brother Moses, who came to America a few years before and lived on Chicago’s near northwest side on Clyborn Street near North Avenue.
They loved this country. Dad served in Europe and Moses served on a battleship in the North Atlantic. He wanted to serve with his brother but the recruiters thought that a sailor with the name “Moses” could help the Allies “part the seas.”
They served four years until the end of the war. Moses died a few years after I was born but my father and mother, Georgette, moved to their first home at 99th and Forrest Avenue in Chicago, a ranch style home with no garage that had just been built. A few years later, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley decided to build an expressway through that part of the city and the homeowners were all forced to sell their homes. Half the block south of their home was razed for the expressway.
And although I didn’t know a lot about him, remembering him brings back a lot of good memories, not only about family life back then but about the world we lived in back then, too. It was so much better and far different from the world we live in today.
I was trying to make a list of the things that were a character of those years in the 1960s.
The “Good Humor Man,” now we don’t even have a good humor world, or good humor at all.
Family Dinners every Sunday. Now we have the Internet and Social Media Anger, namecalling and hate.
Newspapers that were worth wrapping fish in. Now we have the Chicago Tribune gutted itself this week instead of wrapping gutted fish
Affordable food, clothing, cars and homes — have you seen the prices recently?
Racism is now “Race-ism,” meaning that some races are important to the twisted media activists and politicians and a lot of others are marginalized and bullied
We had the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Grand Funk Railroad and Jimi Hendrix with social messages … now we have lyrics crap that attacks other people
We had Johnny Carson and great entertainment, and now we have The Hate Show with Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel and Blah, Blah, Blah
Great movies and drive-ins for the family, like Rio Grande with John Wayne … go to a movie or shopping mall today and you could get robbed, beaten or even killed.
We left the front door open and talked to our neighbors from the front stoop … now we bolt lock the doors, fear for carjackings, gun shots in the middle of the night, (there was crime then but it’s far worse today), and worry someone is going to steal a package from our stoop.
We had presidents who knew how to work together like Eisenhower and Kennedy … and politics that was about serving people not sevring themselves … we used ot memorize Prsidential lines. Today we black them out from our memories or use them as bludgeons.
To tell the truth, my dad would really be pissed about what we have done to this country and what we have let happen to the rest of the world.
Gangways had a whole different meaning back in my dad’s world. It was the space between two homes. Today, it’s celebrated in rap music and racist lyrics that often fuel a street gang lifestyle and the divide between the races.
Race was an issue back then but we all lived in our own ethnic enclaves. It wasn’t just Black and White. The White community was divided between ethnic groups too. Italians. Irish, Polish. Jewish. And Arab. Actually, back then, Arabs and Jews lived together int he same neighborhoods because back then Jews were the victims of widespread anti-Semitism and they found comfort in the Arab community, even though we found ourselves embattled over the Holy Land, Palestine.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and former Chicago City Hall political reporter. He writes for the Southwest News Newspaper Group in Chicago and for Arab News in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Paris, Tokyo, London and Islamabad. Email him at [email protected].)